Header photo courtesy of Mary MacQueen, AKC Breeder of Merit
What is new and creative in kennel designs? Here are a few ideas for dog owners and dog businesses, and they just might save you some money while keeping Fido comfortable!
- Geothermal heating and air conditioning is the new rage. Many kennels are using the earth’s interior to reduce or raise the ambient air temperature in their kennels. The concept is very simple and cost-effective. Dig down about 10 feet and trench out about 200-to-300 feet. Insert corrugated black plastic tubing (without holes) with a minimum diameter of about 10 inches into the full length of the trench. Use corrugated tubing to help create centrifugal airflow as the outside air is pulled through the tubing and into the building. Next, bring the corrugated tubing back up out of the ground.
Inside the kennel install a draft inducer that pulls the outside air through the corrugated tubing and into the building. The draft inducers I have seen are commonly used in poultry houses.
s an example, if the outside temperature is 29 degrees or 112 degrees Fahrenheit by the time the outside air goes through the tube and gets into the building, it will be about 59 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. This greatly reduces the volume of air that will need to be warmed or cooled as it enters your facility. Be mindful of condensation and humidity. You will need a dry well or a sump pump to keep your tubes from filling with water. Also be aware of the humidity levels in your facility, as your dogs can feel the effects of a high heat index. By having two or three tubes, you can create more airflow from different directions. Use mathematical calculations to figure out your square footage and volume needed.
- Solar panels and/or wind generators connected to battery storage offer maximum energy savings and innovative uses. Many kennel owners say their solar panels and storage can run their home and kennel for up to 4 ½ days, even if there was no sun.
- High performance natural lighting systems capture the sun’s light and diffuse it in an even pattern for indoor lighting. This can be done at a minimum daily cost.
These are not your typical skylights, so be sure to get a brand that has heat-reducing technology and/or shutters. There is nothing worse than overheating your facility on a really hot July or August day.
- Synthetic professional-grade grass can improve your facility’s curb appeal and reduce lawn-care time and costs. It can also deter digging, which means a lot less time spent filling in holes! Not to mention, it also means no more dangerous fertilizers and a reduction or elimination in pesticides.
- Clear polycarbonate dog doors allow more light into your facility and give your dogs a view! These doors also reduce the noisy banging common with aluminum dog doors.
- Hydronic or hot water radiant floor heat is an energy-efficient system that is a great way to warm cold floors, raise the room temperature, and create steady conditions within your facility. This technology can also be used in place of potentially dangerous heating pads, heat lamps, and space heaters.
- State-of-the-art whelping box technology starts your puppies out right. The thermostat-controlled center nesting area keeps puppies warm and away from the sides of the box, while allowing Mom a slightly cooler area to lie down. Since dogs tend to pick a spot to use the bathroom and continue to go there, there is a separate toilet area for puppies. This helps them to learn to briefly “hold it” and is a good start to their house-training success!
- Hydro (water) micro-misting systems for outdoor cooling are a great idea on hot summer days. The fine mist cools down the outside air and reduces the mud holes created by heavier water misters or sprayers.
- Self-flow, replenishing, stainless steel water bowls and water licking systems are the way to go for those finicky drinkers or those who just can’t stay out of their water bowls.
- Shade sails are tension-mounted fabric shades modeled after ship sails. They provide outdoor shade and are a great way to add that extra flare to your facility without the extra price tag.
- Sustainable bacterial products that reduce ammonia and other types of harmful bacteria are eco-friendly and don’t have harmful chemicals. You will be surprised at how well these products work for odor control. These are safe products with no perfume cover-ups, and they do not cause burning eyes!